As the month of November continues all of the Victory Scholars, led by the group at Ulster, are preparing to host the Belfast Classic. This will be the 2nd annual Classic which last year was the first NCAA basketball tournament in Europe and will now host 8 Division I teams from all over the United States. This opportunity for Irish youth to witness high level basketball is invaluable and I’m constantly in awe of the SCL staff in Belfast that are going to pull this phenomenal event off. For all the fans stateside who support what our foundation is doing you can tune into the games on CBS on November 29, 30 and December 1st.
One of the things I’m most looking forward to during the weekend of the Classic is having all of the Scholars back in Belfast together. Our induction week was one of the best weeks since I’ve been here and I’m sure this one will be equally great, if not better. Us Scholars play a crucial part in this tournament, working a variety of jobs to make sure everything works smoothly. I am incredibly lucky and fortunate to be selected as a team liaison and have been matched with the San Francisco Dons coming all the way from California. As a liaison I’ll meet the team in Dublin when they arrive and travel with them to Belfast. There I’ll be their point of contact for anything from directions to recommendations to eat, but more importantly I’ll have an opportunity to represent Sport Changes Life on the front lines and create a lasting first impression. I couldn’t be more excited.
I am using this blog post to introduce some of the Don players and coaching staff for all of you reading back home so you can follow their progress in the tournament and more importantly, become San Francisco fans for the weekend!
The Dons are led by third year head coach Kyle Smith who his coming off back to back 20 win seasons. Positioned for another deep postseason run the squad returns 66% of their scoring from last year including First Team All-WCC point guard Frankie Ferrari (if nothing else, root for this kid because he has the coolest name of all time). Other key names to keep an eye out for are seniors Nate Renfro and Matt McCarthy, juniors Jordan Rating and Jimbo Lull, and sophomore Charles Minlend.
USF Dons Athletics put out a great 2018-2019 season preview video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTc4FKTvXSc) that will tell you everything you need to know and is a must-watch if you plan on rooting for the Dons during the Classic weekend. I know it got me fired up! This year we’re already 2-0 with blowout wins over UC Davis and Maine. Hot start!
All this info was borrowed from the USF Dons Men’s Basketball page and if you’re interested you can check ’em out here – https://usfdons.com/roster.aspx?roster=211&path=mbball